Essex Senior League: Allan Fenn expects Barkingside battle but confident his Ilford players can cope

PUBLISHED: 16:30 19 September 2016

Ilford manager Allan Fenn (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Ilford manager Allan Fenn (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 8450 946026

Foxes held Barking to goalless draw on Saturday to remain unbeaten in the division after five matches

Ilford keeper Chris Clark gathers the ball under pressure from Barking's Paul Oshin (pic: Terry Gilbert)Ilford keeper Chris Clark gathers the ball under pressure from Barking's Paul Oshin (pic: Terry Gilbert)

Ilford manager Allan Fenn has told his players to prepare for a battle against local rivals Barkingside tonight (Monday).

The two Essex Senior League clubs go head-to-head at Cricklefields this evening for their second clash of the campaign.

Foxes ‘hosted’ Side on the opening day of the season on July 30 and ran out comprehensive 5-1 winners.

But Fenn knows it will be tougher this time around, although is relishing the challenge of taking on their tenants.

He said: “It will be a battle and I know Barkingside well enough to know the embarrassment they suffered last time will be driving them on.

“We are up for the challenge and unbeaten still, but to be quite honest that is rubbish really. Some teams have played 13 games and we are only through five.

“I won’t look at the table until we’ve played 10 but Barkingside have improved since we played them and beat Barking at home so it will be a battle.”

Fenn added: “It will be a completely different game to when we faced them last time. I pride myself on my organisation skills.

“For the first match I made sure we were mentally and physically prepared for what was to come and it showed.

“We have kind of had a month off though now so it is different and we are just getting back into the groove of things.”

Ilford continued their good start to the new season on Saturday with a goalless draw against Barking.

The stalemate means the Foxes remain unbeaten after five games in the division with three wins and two draws to their name.

“It was a fair result. Barking were better in the first half and we were the better side in the second half,” said Fenn.

“We paid too much respect to them, well the players did, and stood off them in the first half, but we got them in at half time, still 0-0 thankfully, and made a few adjustments.

“I thought we looked much better. We had a couple of chances and hit the crossbar so we could have won it in the end, but overall a draw was fair. It was a scrappy game and not much football was played so it wasn’t a great advert for the league.

“Both teams wanted to win but so much was at stake so early on in the season and I had players injured and I know Glen Golby did as well so we’ll take a point.”

Saturday’s match was at Ilford’s Cricklefields home and so is tonight, although Barkingside are the ‘home’ side.

The Foxes boss was pleased he didn’t have to travel anywhere far this midweek and discussed the prospect of his team winning for a fourth time in the league this season.

Fenn added: “It could have been worst! At least we are at home and we could leave all our stuff there on Saturday so didn’t need to lug it about!

“It should be a good contested derby and both clubs will want to be top dogs. It is an opportunity for us to do the double.

“Barkingside will see it as a chance to put last time right and it will be a battle. We are ready for it and capable of winning, but we’ll need to deal with their physicality.”

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